Solo Travel Bag Decoded

Solo Travel Bag has become the new mantra of people today. Each word of the title – separate as well as together – is a complete story in itself.

In today’s world – Solo or being on your own has become one’s favourite company. Travel is the new buzzword. So Bags have become an essential part of travel life.

solo travel bag
Our medium-sized bags… seeming humongous during travel

I never thought that these words are going to become an integral part of my life too. But after my first long-term backpacking trip to Europe, I understood its importance. Solo travel bag has become my new motto in life too, after all I too have to move with the bandwagon. I have realised I am happiest as a solo traveler with a light travel bag. Mind you, this is separate from my gadgets-bag, so technically I would still be travelling with two bags. And that’s why the importance of a carry-on solo travel bag  increases manifold in my life.

How did it all Start?

Packing for my first long-term backpacking trip to Europe, I really thought that I had got it all worked out after reading endless number of blogs and articles about what to carry, making packing lists and of course using some common sense. Ha! Only to realise how wrong I was from day one of the trip. Suddenly it seemed like I was carrying the entire house with me and still didn’t pack right. It’s a miserable feeling and to live with it for a month – every time you look at your bag – can be quite demotivating.

After feeling bad for a few days, I decided to turn the situation on its head. I was loving the trip and knew this is going to be first of many. Therefore, in order to not make the same blunder again, I decided to start preparing a packing list of my own.

So What did I Do?

I started keeping aside the things that I wasn’t using during the trip. And, voila, by the end of the trip I had the list of things I actually used and so those are going to be the things I pack next time. An important travel tip is to research the weather conditions and topography of the place of travel before starting to pack. Keeping the checklist ready is another tip.

solo travel bag
Size… Size does matter!

Solo Travel Bag – Size Matters!

This is the first step of smart travel. Choosing the right bag is very important. Depending on the venue and its topography, its important to choose the type and size of bag. We were a group of 4 women travelling – 3 with medium sized trolley bags and one with backpack – most of the places, trolley bags worked just fine like backpack except where we had to climb up the stairs with bags in old towns. Even a big backpack is not suitable because its not easy to climb up or walk long distances with so much weight on your back… it gets very tiring. If only the size of all bags and backpack was small instead of medium, we would have been sorted.

A backpack is more suited to hills and rough terrains, a carry-on trolley bag is equally good enough for planes and coastal areas. If a small bag has to be picked up/ pushed around for a while, it doesn’t hurt too much. For this, you don’t need to break your back unnecessarily carrying backpack all the time and getting tired faster.  trolley carry-on bag also gives the flexibility of carrying a small day backpack to carry the gadgets. wallet, shades, water bottle etc. Having said that, it’s a personal choice and many travellers prefer backpacks for all kinds of travel.

Solo Travel Bag – Essentials

By defining the size of the bag, the packing battle is half won because this defines the weight-limit of the stuff you can carry.

The next step is to make the list of travel items. After my month-long travel, I realised that one needs the same amount of stuff whether travelling for a week or a month. You end up running out of new stuff and start repeating. So why pack more, rather pack smart. Basis this learning and my self-posed assignment of keeping aside the things I didn’t use, I prepared a list of items I would be carrying for my next trip.

Clothes and accessories
  • Trousers and shorts
    • One pair of jeans
    • One trouser
    • 2 capris/ shorts – depending on the area of travel. These can double up as night wear too.
  • Shirts and dresses
    • 5 shirts/ T-shirts/ sweatshirt/ in solid colors – depending on area of travel. These can double up as night wear too
    • Scarves and stoles – matching with the shirts.
    • Lingerie
      • 4 pair of underments and socks- 2 in use and 2 in reserve.
      • One towel – thin quick-drying one is better
    • Rain poncho/ Windcheater/ Down Jacket – choose one of these depending on the weather – down jacket doubles up as windcheater or raincoat in mild rains.
    • Cap
    • Footwear
      • Sneakers/ walking shoes
      • Bathroom slippers
      • Leather boots/ rough-terrain shoes/ water proof shoes/ flat sandals – depending on place of travel
    • Jewellery-
    • What u wear on yourself is what you take. Keep it minimal.

Ensure all of the clothing items can be mixed and matched with each other and accessorised with scarves and stoles to give them a different-outfit feel every day.

Solo travel bag
Most places today are fully equipped as per traveler-requirement
Toiletries and Cosmetics

All hotels, apartments and hostels too provide the basics these days, but its still advisable to carry small packs just in case, you don’t like the quality or they run out of stock or you need to use them in transit like airport or station. Remember to keep all liquids less than 100 ml – as per the flight guidelines for carry-on bags)

  • Toiletries
    • Toothbrush and tooth paste
    • Shampoo cum shower gel and conditioner
    • Loofah – its lightweight and quite helpful in shower and small bathing area.
    • coconut oil – it works as body-moisturiser, hair oil, makeup remover, face oil, scrub
    • Tissue paper/ cotton swabs
    • Detergent
    • safety pins
  • Cosmetics
    • Sunscreen lotion
    • Compact
    • Lip-cum-cheek-cum-eye stain
    • Lip balm
    • Deodorant/ perfume
    • Eye makeup – transparent mascara/ liner/ Kajal – optional
    • Hair dryer/ hair pressing machine – optional – although I prefer to carry a hairdryer along
Other travel essentials, primarily for Females

Some of which are time and weather depended

  • One Dri-fit set
  • Hi stockings- skin, black
  • One vest/ thermal
  • One dress preferably shorts style
  • Sanitary pads/ tampons, Waxing strips, pair of tweezers, nail-file – must in solo travel bag as these are long-term female essentials
  • money pouch
  • neck pillow
  • Ear plugs for flights
  • travel adapter and chargers
  • Foldable light-weight daypack bag – This doesn’t take much weight or space and helps you breathe easy when leaving behind some gadget in hostel as they are still packed and locked up in bag and you take only what you need.
solo travel bag
Optional travel essentials

These are optional for me, because I didn’t  use them in my one month of travel or may be used once or twice

  • Scissors
  • Face wash – I used coconut oil with cotton as face cleanser
  • Clothesline – Take it if the weight permits – it can double up for wrapping around backpack for extra security.
  • Bed sheet – carried it but didn’t really needed it.

And that’s it! You are ready to travel.

So let me know what do you think of my list and if i have missed anything… don’t forget to share your travel bags too:).

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